Dear Hal, Hank, Brian, Santa, Hannukah Harry, and the mighty Baseball Gods…
These days, it’s a little hard for me to separate what I want to see as someone who wants the Yankees to do well from what I want to see as someone who wants to write entertainingly about the Yankees. So, for example, the fan in me is happy that Hank Steinbrenner has learned to keep quiet and allow his saner and more politic brother to speak for the family; the blogger in me misses Hank Steinbrenner. (I have a similar dilemma with the Mets right now: I don’t think Wally Backman would be the right choice as manager for them but, dammit, he would make for some great material). As a result my Yankees Winter Wish List is a little bit muddled. I have not been particularly good this year, but here’s what I want anyway, starting with the completely obvious and heading, as always, for the ridiculous:
1. Cliff Lee… Kind Of
I don’t know when exactly I went from gung-ho to ambivalent on signing Cliff Lee. I love watching the guy pitch, totally fell for him during last year’s World Series, when I didn’t even mind that much that he beat the Yankees because his Steve McQueen-cool demeanor and perfect control was just so great to watch. But I also keep reading articles by smart people
urging the Yankees to leave him alone, and those articles have started to make sense to me. Besides which, I’m just so sick of the Yankees-buying-everyone-in-sight storyline and would hate to see it flare up yet again, although of course the Yankees themselves should absolutely not take that into account when they make their choice.
2. Leave the Yankee Outfield Intact
Not only are Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, and Curtis Granderson all varying degrees of endearing (depending on your tolerance for goofiness and “grit,” although I challenge you to find ANYONE who doesn’t like Curtis Granderson), they’re all getting reasonable salaries, below market prices. Granderson scuffled for the first chunk of last season and Swisher struggled with injuries, but I think they both have a solid chance of rebounding this year, and Brett Gardner continues to give good production for a guy who gets paid using the spare change found in Hank Steinbrenner’s couch. As many superstars as the Yanks have, they still need to have some (relatively) affordable yet still productive pieces, and on top of that these guys are a lot of fun to watch. Nothing against Carl Crawford, but I don’t think the Yankees need him nearly as much as they need other things (pitchingpitchingpitchingpitchingpitching).
3. Trade Joba
Oh, Joba. The Yankees have fumbled this one, and now instead of a young phenom they have The World’s Most Famous Mediocre Middle Reliever. Joba might yet turn out to be very good - he’s still young, still has impressive stuff – but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen for him here, and I’d rather see him get the chance to start again, anywhere, than keep rotting in the belly of the pen. If you love something, set it free.
4. Likable But Non-Useful Free Agents Land On Their Feet, But Not With the Yankees
Melky Cabrera, Orlando Hudson, Little Nicky Punto
. What do they have in common? They’re likeable and enthusiastic players, I wish them the best, and of course I do not want to see them anywhere near the Yankees. (Though I do think Hudson could still help someone, and would love for the Mets to dump Luis Castillo and pick up the O-Dog instead).
5. The Yankees Relax Their Ban On Unkempt Facial Hair
Baseball players will do terrible, terrible things to their personal appearance, if you leave them to their own devices. And I would feel for the Yankees’ wives and girlfriends, but the simple fact is that we, the fans, are currently missing out on an endless amount of amusement at the players’ expense. Who’s Boone Loogan now? Just a pretty decent, average-looking middle reliever. Wouldn’t it be more entertaining if he still looked like this?:
If you haven’t already run screaming from the room, I will now rest my case.
6. Jeff Francoeur to the Royals.
7. Carl Pavano Signs With The Red Sox For Big Money
This, on the other hand, will absolutely never happen. But wouldn’t it be fun?